Mexican Chipotle Pork and Beans is a big pot of saucy, shreddable meat in a rich, spicy, chipotle sauce. Pork shoulder is slow cooked into fall-apart submission with meaty lima beans that absorbs the bold flavoured sauce. Stuff in tacos, serve over red rice, or eat like stew!
Mexican Chipotle Pork and Beans
This food is me on a plate.
Well, in a pot.
Hunks of juicy meat that’s so tender, it’s barely holding together when you scoop it out. A bold sauce that’s spicy, tangy and deeply savoury. Big creamy beans littered throughout that’s absorbed the flavour of the sauce, making beans tastier and dreamier than you ever imagined possible.
That it’s straightforward to make is a (big) bonus. It’s just like making a stew. In fact, that’s my favourite way to serve this – ladled into bowls like stew, except with tortillas on the side for dunking instead of serving it over the usual mash!
Ingredients in Mexican Chipotle Pork and Bean
Here’s what you need to make big pot of Mexican deliciousness!
This dish is made with pork shoulder which is an economical tough cut of meat that needs to be slow cooked to fall-apart tenderness. I just use cumin to flavour it before searing because the pork absorbs so much flavour while it’s slow cooking, it really doesn’t need much on the surface!
The chipotle sauce (and beans!)
And here’s what you need to make the rich chipotle sauce that the pork is braised in. Flavour to the max!!
Chipotle in adobo (photo below) – The hero ingredient, I adore this Mexican sauce! It’s made with chipotles which are rehydrated and canned in a tangy, spicy red sauce that packs a load of flavour. (Chipotles are smoked, dried jalapeños).
In this recipe, we’re using both the chipotles and sauce (some recipes only use one or the other) and pureeing the chipotles for maximum flavour release and to make a smooth sauce.
Where to find it – Those of you in the States are lucky enough to find chipotle in adobo virtually “everywhere”! In Australia – find it in the Mexican aisle of large grocery stores (Coles, Woolies), Harris Farms, as well as independent grocers. I use La Morena which I buy from Harris Farms – $3.29 for 200g/7 oz (we use the whole can).
Butter beans (aka lima beans) – The big, fat, meaty beans you always see at the store that you wonder what to do with. Well, now you know! 😂 Feel free to substitute with other beans, though I do think creamy beans work better than smaller, firm ones like black beans, chickpeas etc.
Why canned instead of dried beans? I find that the cook time for dried beans (especially large ones like butter beans) can vary quite drastically depending on the age, size and quality of the beans. Which means for dishes like this, sometimes the beans are done before the pork is, sometimes they are still hard when the pork is done. It’s not too bad pulling the pork out and leaving the beans to cook for longer. But it is a pain to take the beans out to continue cooking the pork! So, canned is my preference here.
Orange juice – Yes! A secret ingredient used in Mexican cooking to add sweetness and more flavour than just adding sugar into things (eg carnitas, fajitas). Doesn’t make it taste orangey because once it’s slow cooked, the flavour completely transforms.
Chicken stock – For the braising liquid. Low sodium please, otherwise your dish might end up too salty.
Tomato paste – For flavour and thickening. It’s sautéed to cook out the raw, sour flavour before mixing into the braising liquid.
Herbs and spices – Nothing unusual here! Oregano, coriander, allspice, bay leaves.
Onion and garlic – Flavour base.
How to make Chipotle pork and beans
This recipe starts off by searing the pork on the stove before transferring to the oven to braise until the pork is fall-apart tender, giving the sauce time to develop fabulous deep, savoury flavour.
Puree the chipotle in adobo using a stick blender. The chipotle is really soft so it literally takes seconds.
Season pork – Cut the pork into 6 equal pieces, for ease of handling to sear, more surface area for browning and so they cook faster than a whole pork shoulder. Then sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper.
Brown the pork in two batches, using a heavy based oven-proof pot. Rotate the pork to brown all over. Remember, colour = flavour! Once done, remove the pork onto a plate.
Sauté sauce flavour base – Using the same pot, sauté the garlic, onion, dried herbs and spices. Sautéing dried herbs and spices is a neat trick for getting extra flavour out of them – it makes them “bloom”.
Next, cook off the tomato paste followed by the pureed chipotle in adobo. Cooking off pastes is a great flavour trick as it intensifies flavour as well as taking off the raw, sour edge. It also depends the savoury flavour so you get more out of less!
Braising liquid – Add all the remaining ingredients except the beans into the sauce – the orange juice, stock, spices and bay leaves. The beans are added later else they will overcook and become too mushy.
Give it all a good mix then place the pork in, along with any juices pooled on the plate (never waste free flavour!). Arrange the pork as best you can so they are submerged under the liquid. But don’t worry if there’s some of the surface poking above because it will steam-cook and also the pork will shrink as it cooks so it will eventually sink below the surface.
Slow cook – Put the lid on and transfer to the oven to slow cook for 2 hours at 180°C/350°F (160°C fan). This temperature might sound high for slow cooking but it equates to a gentle simmer on the stove, which is suitable for slow cooking meats.
Other cook methods – 6 hours in a slow cooker on low or 2 hours on the stove.
Beans – Remove the pot from the oven. The pork should be pretty much fork tender by this stage. Add the beans and push them in as best you can under the liquid.
Bake uncovered – Return the pot to the oven to bake uncovered for 30 minutes to caramelise the surface which adds extra flavour. Also by this stage, the pork should be tender enough so you can pry it apart using two forks without any effort at all.
If you used your slow cooker or the stove, I do recommend doing this final step in the oven because the caramelising of the surface does add extra flavour!
And that’s it! To serve, just scoop up pieces of pork and beans, and ladle into bowls or onto a plate for serving. See below for ways to eat this pot of fall-apart-spicy-meaty-beany deliciousness!
How to serve Chipotle Pork and Beans
As I mentioned at the beginning, my favourite way. to serve Chipotle Pork and Beans is in a bowl like stew. Just use a spoon or fork to cut off bits of pork (which takes barely a touch!) then get a big scoop with beans and plenty of sauce.
I like to add a bit of avocado and sprinkle of coriander/cilantro for freshness, and tortillas for dunking / bowl mopping is essential in my world.
Having said that, here are some other options – all dish worthy!
As a taco filling with your toppings of choice! It’s pictured above with avocado slices, finely chopped white onion, fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and lime wedges. There’s no need for a separate sauce – this is saucy enough as is!
Burritos to die for! Switch the chicken in this burrito recipe.
Shred up the pork and mix it up into the sauce with the beans. Then use it to make a giant nachos (switch out the chicken in this nachos recipe), as an enchilada filling, make tostada or simply scoop up with corn chips.
Turn it into a hearty soup – Add extra chicken stock/broth to thin the sauce and make it less intense, so it becomes suitable to be a soup broth. Then serve it as soup!
So many possibilities! What do you think? Which serving option appeals to you? – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Mexican Chipotle Pork and Beans
- 1.5kg / 3lb pork shoulder (skinless, boneless), cut into 6 equal pieces (Note 1)
- 1 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 200g / 7 oz chipotle in adobo – the chillis + sauce (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup orange juice (real, not reconstituted sweetened stuff – Note 3)
- 2 cups chicken stock/broth , low sodium
- 2 bay leaves (fresh, else dried)
- 1 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 3 x 420g / 16 oz canned butter beans / lima beans , or other of choice (Note 4)
Dried herbs & spices
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp allspice powder
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan).
- Puree chipotle in adobo until smooth using a stick blender or similar.
- Sprinkle pork all over with salt, pepper and cumin.
- Brown pork – Heat all the oil in a large oven-proof pot over high heat. Brown the pork all over in 2 batches, the remove onto a plate (~ 1 minute each side).
- Sauté – Cool the pot slightly then return to medium heat. If the pot looks dry, add 1 tbsp oil. Sauté onion, garlic, the herbs & spices for 3 minutes.
- Cook off tomato & chipotle – Add tomato paste and cook it off for 2 minutes. Add chipotle puree and cook for 2 minutes.
- Slow cook 2 hours – Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT beans. Stir, then bring to simmer. Place pork in – arrange so its submerged as best as possible. Cover with lid. Place in oven for 2 hours. (Note 6 other cook methods)
- Add beans, cook 30 min – Remove lid, add beans. Return to oven for 30 minutes without lid to caramelise the surface. The pork will be fork-tender!
- Serve like stew over Mexican red rice or with tortillas for dunking. Or make wickedly food tacos with finely chopped white onion, fresh coriander/cilantro, avocado slices and a squeeze of lime. More serving options above the recipe video.
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